Secretly signed agreements in Sri Lanka (Indo-Lanka Accord-CFA-ISGA-PTOMs)
Shenali D Waduge
It is time that the public revisit some of the agreements that our supposed leaders had secretly signed for personal and political gain at the cost of the nation and its people. We are quick to accuse external forces of attempting to destabalize Sri Lanka without realizing that it is because there are handful of people ready to be their stooges that external forces have managed to destabalize our nation. The people need to identify who they are and ensure they never get elected.
The agreements that became dangerous prescriptions for future trouble begin with the
1. INDO-LANKA ACCORD
The backdrop to the accord is important to remember. While LTTE may have been not as sophisticated as it became, LTTE were trained by India and had arms supplied by India. The Sri Lankan Army was not as well equipped as it is now. But, Sri Lanka’s forces did have brave men and brave leaders that cornered Prabakaran and would have virtually captured him alive. India was not ready to give up on its investment and thus a call sufficed to threaten to virtually invade Sri Lanka and that threat was symbolized by Indian Air Force violating Sri Lanka’s territory to drop some food while back home in India people were dying of hunger. The year 1987.
The lack of will to nip that which threatens the nation, the mentality of delaying and using issues for political advantage and lack of faith in the armed forces cost the country much.
The people knew little of what transpired to lead to the Accord for its contents were all kept secret. It was signed under virtual duress with Sri Lanka’s Cabinet forced to give undated letters of resignation, media was debarred and the country placed under curfew.
India’s aspirations and deals aside what were our leaders doing?
· Why did they not question key clauses in the Indo-Lanka Agreement foremost of which is why Sri Lanka agreed to accept North and East as Tamil Homelands. Why did Sri Lanka not object to the merger of North and East? There is no such ‘areas of historical habitation of Sri Lankan Tamil speaking people, who have at all times hitherto lived together in this territory’. Did none of our officials or politicians have enough knowledge of history to demand this clause to be rephrased? Do we not see the same references being made with no correction demanded from Sri Lanka’s side except for patriots always pointing out discrepancies?
· Why did Sri Lanka’s leaders not demand repeal of the Accord no sooner India failed to disarm the LTTE in 120hrs as promised?
· Why did Sri Lanka not annul the Accord when it was made clear that Sri Lanka’s obligation to adhere to the Accord was condition to India’s performance and implementation on 5 key steps none of which India honored?
· Why did Sri Lanka’s leaders and officials not raise voice and refuse to India’s request to pull back Sri Lanka’s military from the North?
· Why did our leaders and officials not keep the public abreast of India’s failure to perform the obligations it promised under the Accord.
· Under the principle of International Law ‘Pacta Sunt Servanda’ (agreements must be kept) both parties must execute their mutually agreed obligations in good faith. India breached its obligations under the Accord but there was no protest or challenge from Sri Lanka – timidity, meekness and moral cowardice carries this country nowhere.
Is it not because Sri Lanka did not make Sri Lanka’s stand clear that we remain saddled with not only the Indo-Lanka Accord but the 13th amendment that created the Provincial Council system that has been simply a wastage of public funds. Do we suffer from a tendency to meekly accept what India or any other bilateral partner produces in the form of agreements? If not, why did officials not question how a Provincial Council system could solve an ‘ethnic problem’ and moreover how ‘ethnic’ is the problem when men and women are trained as terrorists on foreign soil? Why have our officials 30 years on not thought it time to immediately remove all references to Sri Lanka’s problem as being ‘ethnic’ and declare that Sri Lanka suffered a terrorist problem.
1. CEASE FIRE AGREEMENT 2002
Exactly 15 years after the Indo-Lanka Accord came another secretly signed agreement by those that advocated the theory of ‘unwinnable war’ and championed the policy of appeasement. That agreement was called the ‘roadmap to peace’ it became the roadmap to a piece of Sri Lanka as declared by Madam Maria Carrilho, EU MP who said that the CFA will lead to a new autonomous state, a flag and new anthem.
Why did no one in the UNP or UNF coalition protest against the 2002 Accord – the same silence prevailed with the Indo-Lanka Accord except for Gamini Jayasuriya who resigned, President Premadasa and Lalith Athulathmudali who did not attend the signing.
The people must realize what this agreement meant. The people must know that for the first time a political party was ready to enter into an Agreement that placed an internationally designated terrorist group on par with a sovereign state. What is shocking about this decision is that Sri Lanka could have easily joined the War on Terror declared in 2001 following the 9/11 attack and used that to stifle the LTTE, instead of doing that Norway that brokered the Accord managed to do a deal with the current Opposition Leader and sign a treacherous cease fire agreement that gave legitimacy to a terrorist movement. Even Dr. Subramaniam Swamy declared that the CFA was the outcome of a ‘surrender mentality’ of the UNF Government prepared to hand over large chunks of vital Sri Lankan territory to terrorists in return for a few billion of dollars being dangled as carrots by the West including Norway, USA and Japan among others.
While UNP supporters boast of their Leaders vision and management thinking, none of our doubts were put to rest when Ranil Wickremasinghe signed the CFA without informing even the Party’s Secretary or his own cabinet.
What was the quid pro quo that allowed the ‘architects’ to betray the nation under the CFA?
Who did not mind the LTTE committing more than 10,000 ceasefire violations?
Who cared not to take action against the LTTE for killing 174 security forces personnel, 388 civilians, for 117 attempted murders, 620 abductions, 46 attempted abductions, 106 cases of extortion, 2,199 conscriptions, 875 injuries to persons, 22 instances of torture, 128 cases of intimidations and recruitment of 1, 200 children?
Who did not care not to equate a terrorist organization to be on par with a legally established armed forces that protects the nation?
What type of people agrees to sign an agreement that grants LTTE official recognition through the CFA as ‘equal stakeholders'?
Who were the Architects and people involved with the 2002 CFA and is it morally correct for us to accept these people as our leaders when the possibilities of them to sign over the country should always be on our minds. We cannot and should not accept people as leaders when we have doubts about them.
Who were some of these people who deserve no place of trust and reliability for they have by the choice taken in silently being part of a treacherous agreement have shown they never put the country first.* Defence Minister – Tilak Marapana “I have no intention at all in waging war with the LTTE at the moment. We have embarked on a peace mission and our target today, and my role as Defence Minister, is not to plan strategy to attack but merely to ready ourselves to defend”
* Secretary Defence (December 2001) – Austin Fernando http://groundviews.org/2008/11/02/interview-with-austin-fernando-a-peace...
* Chief Spokesman/Secretary for the UNF – Bradman Weerakoon later to be the Secretary to the PM and thereon to ICES NGO
* Head of SL Peace Secretariat – Bernard Goonetilake and Jayantha Dhanapala
* Deputy Director General, Peace Secretariat in Colombo, Dr. John Gunaratne
* Head, LTTE Peace Secretariat, S. Puleedevan
* Head, SLMM, Tryggve Tellefssen
* SL Legal – Lakshman Marasinghe
Did these architects not have an iota of love for their country and respect for its armed forces? Did they not feel guilty to place our soldiers in barracks and allow LTTE freedom to move where they liked? Did the LTTE not humiliate our soldiers by laughing at them and ridiculing them knowing the soldiers had no ability to react?
The CFA eventually paved the way for LTTE to assassinate Sri Lanka’s popular Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar and led to the release of intelligence members most of whom were Tamils or Malays. Maj. Muthalif, Lt. Col. Rizvi Meedin and over 60 others were gunned down in cold blood. LTTE began to smuggle shipments of arms, sophisticated telecommunications through Sri Lanka’s own customs. Those that signed approvals today hold advisory posts while others are planning to jump to the Government since the Opposition Alliance appears to be sinking.
Can the people of Sri Lanka forgive or forget how these architects handed 95% of Eelam to the LTTE on a silver platter without any sense of guilt or qualms about hiding the details from the people. If they can sign one such agreement these people can sign many more treacherous agreements which is why the people must never allow such people whether politician or public office to ever be given a prominent role in governance.
1. INTERIM SELF-GOVERNING AUTHORITY (ISGA)
If 95% of Eelam was given via the 2002 CFA the rest was to be secured through the ISGA and PTOMs.
The ISGA was put forward by the LTTE to legalize what was provisionally established through the CFA.
If Ranil agreed to make the cake, Chandrika Bandranaike agreed to ice the cake and hand it to the LTTE. US5bilion became the fatal attraction for this third betrayal. Greed to grab the money became a race as to who was willing and ready to share the cake with LTTE.
At this stage, the JVP, the JHU, Lakshman Kadiragamar and patriotic forces were quick to raise awareness of the dangers of signing the ISGA and averted what would have led to an Eelam.
Again it is important to highlight why these leaders are referred to as traitors. When 32 countries had banned the LTTE why would Sri Lanka’’s leaders agree to a proposal by the LTTE to accept that theirs was a Tamil struggle in ‘self-defence”? If they had agreed would Sri Lanka be able to argue in any international forum in defense?
It is because these treacherous leaders kept what they were agreeing to sign a secret that the public was never privy to the clauses and were signatories willing to allow LTTE to rule over Muslims and Sinhalese through the ISGA? Is it not strange why not a single of those privy to the agreement clauses ever objected to why the proposal should be drafted by the LTTE? Not a single person ever questioned why allocations were given to Tamils, Muslims and GOSL with no mention of Sinhalese (GOSL is not Sinhalese) or why LTTE a terrorist organization was allowed to make all appointments to the ISGA District Committees and would administer all State land, financial affairs, judicial affairs and development while Sri Lanka’s representatives were happy to get their hands of half of the USD5m and care not what happened to the country.
What the public need to note with relevance to what is happening currently is that the same set of people now coming before us as ‘alternative’ and ‘uncorrupt’ and ‘our saviors’ were those that were ready to give LTTE rule of law, LTTE the right to collect taxes, to allow LTTE run administration, to allow LTTE to deal directly with external parties, to allow LTTE to trade and while allowing for all of this LTTE was ready to say it was agreeing to give up calls for an independent Tamil Eelam? Were our people so stupid not to realize that there would be no requirement to demand an independent Tamil Eelam because having given LTTE a carte blanche they were actually given Eelam by our own people!
1. POST-TSUNAMI OPERATIONAL MANAGEMENT STRUCTURE (P-TOMS)
So the series of treacherous secretly signed pacts started with the Indo-Lanka Accord, then to the CFA, then the ISGA and then came to the PTOMs. Again the JVP, JHU and patriotic forces brought the dangers of the clauses into public domain inspite of the stoic silence of the pro-West Sri Lankan media.
The ISGA carrot was $5billion, the PTOM carrot was $3billion
Chandrika Bandaranaike jumped and signed PTOMs on 24 June 2005. She, claiming to be the daughter of 2 respected Prime Ministers knowingly excluded the South refusing to acknowledge the South as victim of the tsunami.
For the 3rd time, the GOSL was placed on par with a terrorist movement.
For the 3rd time, despite patriotic forces putting forward the grave dangers and risks involved the same mistake was committed between Ranil W and Chandrika Bandaranaike, the same twosome propelling the hired Maithripala Sirisena as Presidential Candidate.
The PTOMs committee comprised 1 nominee from LTTE, 1 nominee from the Muslims and 1 nominee from GOSL (again no mention of Sinhalese) and not a single member in Government bothered to raise hue or cry over this omission. The Regional Committee of the PTOMs was designed in such a way to make LTTE the majority in the Committee and no objection from those supposedly representing Sri Lanka.
There are few items that the Public must be conscious of and keep reminding of their representatives
1. Leaders and their advisors are not elected or paid by the State to barter the country’s interests or to divide the country into pieces because someone dangles a lot of dollars and pounds, green cards, houses and foreign scholarships. They can barter away their own property but not which does not belong to them and which they are only given custodian status of.
2. Leaders and their advisors are expected to function with integrity, morals and good ethics during the term of office that they are elected. They are not owners of land to think they have the right to trade that land for deals that personally benefit them.
3. Leaders and their advisors must realize that the country does not function to suit their individual whims and fancies, to meet their personal or family agendas or their personal ideologies. If they want to follow their personal beliefs resign and do so but not compromising on what the masses are paying them to uphold.
4. Leaders and their advisors have no right to change legal and constitutional provisions or interpret them to satisfy their own fancies or to shove down crafty legislature because they are in turn influenced from unknown quarters.
The issue is simple.
Why have our leaders and public officials who have unlimited enjoyment of state coffers simply watched gross violations of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and been oblivious to the eventual outcome. Would it not mean that they too would eventually have to flee the nation and they can but what about the rest of the people? Have these signatories and those that were aware of the clauses of these secret pacts care what would happen eventually to the nation? It was by some stroke of luck that both US and Japan refused to supply funds to the PTOMs claiming that LTTE was proscribed and this further highlighted the treacherous minds of our own people ready to sign and accommodate the PTOMs.
The nation owes gratitude to the bench of judges led by Sarath Silva CJ who on 15th July 2005 less than 3 weeks of its signing following excellent submissions made by H L de Silva, S L Gunasekera, Gomin Dayasri, Minoli Jinadasa and Manohara de Silva managed to issue a stay order on the PTOMs MOU. The following year (15 September 2006) another legal victory ensued with the demerging of the merged North-East (following the Indo-Lanka Accord).
From JR Jayawardena, President Premadasa, to Ranil Wickremasinghe and Chandrika Bandaranaike a series of secretly discussed and signed pacts with only a handful of their trusted coterie being privy has compromised the nation and the people. The blunders they have committed have been for personal power, glory, money or to score points over their opponents with little care for the outcome to the nation.
The last few agreements signed secretly have been the worst and they now appear before us signing further deals in a coalition that shows no sign of coalition. Handful of coalition members are signing secret pacts amongst each other with others promising to join only if their demands are met but kept secret from others in the camp because they can’t trust them. This one common cam comprises CBK-Maithri-Ranil & UNPers without choice-JHU-Fonseka-Arjuna-Rajitha-Bahu-Hirunika-other cross overs from the Government as to who is running the show and whose promises are to be fulfilled in what order if at all they do end up winning in an election that is about electing ONLY one person and not many with ideological differences that makes any to wonder how long it will take for them all to reach one decision.
We have seen enough of treacherous agreements throughout the past 3 decades. The people should not allow room for more secret pacts to be entertained compromising the country any more than it has because signatories will end up taking the first flight out of the country but it is the people who will end up suffering.